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Features - Jan 2006



The Bahamas Investor

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The next wave

The next wave

The Bahamas Investor turns the last word over to Allyson Maynard Gibson on doing business in The Bahamas

The Bahamas Investor Magazine
January 1, 2006
January 1, 2006
Allyson Maynard Gibson

Many people already banking or doing business in The Bahamas are now at the head of the next generation. They’re concerned with how to manage intergenerational wealth and succession. They know The Bahamas, yet now find themselves wanting to, or needing to, diversify what they have.

We are right with them, as a country providing financial services, which is why The Bahamas has been proactive about responding to such needs with product legislation. Over the last few years, we’ve introduced a myriad of Bahamian-based financial products like segregated account companies, SMART funds that can be used by institutional investors or family offices, and we expect to introduce legislation on private trust companies. And these are just a few examples of our flexible wealth management tools. Those already in The Bahamas can now truly diversify their financial base and prepare for the future.

The Bahamas is also attracting significant numbers of people for the first time who are in the process of building their wealth, who are discovering the unique financial planning challenges of high-net-worth or ultra high-net-worth individuals. We say to them, look, this is a lifestyle choice. You can have a fabulous second home here, and you can have all the support you need as well when it comes to your professional services and advisors here in The Bahamas. We have options here for you in many different arenas, from banking to investment. Yes, this is a fabulous place to have a vacation or have a second home, but it’s also a very sophisticated base of operations, especially in financial services.

The market has recognized the limitations of what used to be called “bank secrecy,” and tax issues raised by onshore jurisdictions. It has responded quite comfortably to the taxation issues of onshore jurisdictions and the need to share information to globally combat money laundering and terrorist financing. As long as an individual’s legitimate rights to privacy are protected–as they are in The Bahamas–they can be quite comfortable here. Similarly, there’s respect of the fact that most practitioners in The Bahamas have, for quite some time, demanded that onshore clients have their tax advisors involved in wealth planning.

And if you wonder whether you can get the same kind of attention from advisors in The Bahamas that you get in London or in New York, all I can say is to speak to a few of the people already here. You’ll hear that, at all levels, they’re enjoying the same quality of service or, in some cases, better.

Allyson Maynard Gibson
Allyson Maynard Gibson is Minister of Financial Services and Investments in The Bahamas. Before joining government, she was a leading lawyer in the area of trust and estate planning as former managing partner of Nassau-based Gibson and Company.

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